Ritchey WCS Z Max Evolution 29x2.1in tyre £46

Light and grippy rubber for cross-country riders

BikeRadar score 3.5/5

Okay, that’s almost all the letters in the alphabet, but it makes sense. It’s an ‘Evolution’ of the original Z-Max Classic tyre, while the WCS stands for World Championship Series; that means it’s a dual-compound rubber. 

It’s softer on the edges for cornering grip, and harder in the middle for fast rolling. Note that Ritchey do 26in versions as well, in 1.9in and 2.1in.

Weight is low for the 29x2.1 (despite ours weighing 650g, or nearly 150g more than claimed) and the fast-rolling, low-profile knobs are widely spaced to prevent them squirming or clogging with mud. The downside is that the tyre wears quickly, but that’s the usual price of low weight and extra speed.

Grip is superb in almost any conditions, and the foldable casings have a supple response over rough terrain – especially when run tubeless, which contributes to comfort and shock absorption. It’s a great low weight all-round tyre for cross-country riders seeking maximum speed and traction, but they are costly.

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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